To: Don Ghermezian, President and CEO at American Dream

Dear Don,

As Triple Five Group works toward the opening of American Dream Miami, you’re riding the success of your other mall properties, including Mall of America—a trailblazer in unifying theme parks with retail. Your new venture will be the biggest mall in the U.S., with 2,000 hotel rooms, an indoor ski slope and a water park. Already, entertainment will be prioritized over retail, comprising 55% of the square footage.

While this square footage split is groundbreaking in its own right, how could you further remove the barriers between entertainment and retail? At the same time, how could you use American Dream as an opportunity to build a brand for the property in the eyes of consumers so they associate their trip with American Dream, rather than just the stores inside the mall?

Here’s one idea about how to do it.

Launch DayDream.

As fewer people choose to spend a significant amount of time at traditional malls, experience-based malls have an opportunity to reclaim and reinvigorate the pastime by structurally combining entertainment and commerce. The goal should be getting someone to spend at least a full day at the complex, rather than showing up just to pop into a store and then leave.

Mall of America already offers day passes for the Nickelodeon Universe rides, but American Dream Miami could take this even further and offer mall-wide day passes called DayDream.

The pass, which could manifest as an app, would provide access to all of the entertainment, wellness, food and hospitality attractions on the property, in addition to endless shopping opportunities. DayDreamers who want to shop could get invited to special events and receive early access to new products and other benefits. In this sense, DayDream would act like an Amazon Prime membership, offering services and benefits that change consumer behavior, but specifically for visitors to American Dream Miami. If DayDream is not predicated solely on discounting, tenants across the property will want to collaborate with you to gain access to the mall’s highly-coveted shoppers who also happen to be pass holders.

To take the concept even further, DayDreamers could use the pass to unlock a mall-wide obstacle course—acting like a real life video game. They could unlock different prizes based off of their activity—for example, a visitor who skis the indoor slope could unlock a free hot chocolate after she’s done skiing, leading her to the food hall, where she would likely spend more time and money. From there, maybe there’s a prize hiding in the fast-fashion section, which she would visit next. The obstacle course could optimize the mall experience for individual shoppers, with the course changing every month and making recommendations based on past activity.

The obstacle course’s constant evolution would compel locals to return to the property more frequently and perhaps lead them to purchase a season pass. At the same time, DayDream would also appeal to tourists, who could buy the pass by the day. Taking a page from the pricing architecture of ski resorts, tourists and locals alike could tailor their visits to their specific interests and needs.

Creating a symbiosis between your rides and activities, shopping, hospitality and restaurants would build on the model you’ve established at Mall of America, while shaping a consumer-facing brand. It would also keep foot traffic flowing to all parts of your property, which would amplify the performance of each company under the American Dream Miami umbrella.

There is a big opportunity to push the boundaries even more, and work to mitigate many of the pitfalls that have hurt most malls today. This is just one idea about how to go even further. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.

Richie Siegel
Founder and Lead Analyst
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